Monday, September 26, 2011

A Whirlwind Trip to Utah

I got to go to Salt Lake City for the least I think I was there...?  It went by so fast.  I arrived late Friday afternoon, drove to Logan on Friday night for my cousin's  Saturday wedding, raced
back to SLC for the evening reception and then flew home Sunday.

Whew, that was kind of a blur.

The leaves were starting to change.  It was a beautiful weekend.  This view of Mt. Olympus always takes my breath away.

My cousin Riley got married.  He has waited a long time to meet this amazing girl Georgann.  I knew that I had to be there to celebrate.  Thank you Romney for taking over all the craziness of our family's schedule, so I could leave and thoroughly enjoy a little break.

My parents look pretty freaking amazing.  I am hopeful that I age as well as they do.
My darling parents with my Dad's aunt Lucy.  She was my late Grandma Margie's dear sister.  My grandma passed away from cancer in 1994.  We realized that if she were still alive, she would be 91.  All grandparents on both sides of my family have passed away and at events like the past two weddings, we realize how much they are still sorely missed.


My dad grew up in Logan, Utah surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and dozens of cousins.  I have countless memories of him recounting the stories of his childhood and the sweet experiences he had that seemed to be taken right out of the movie "A Christmas Story."  Sometimes I picture him as Ralphie.

One of the most retold stories of his youth was when he rescued a childhood friend who slipped and fell into the fast moving canal.  My dad was five years old and his friend Paul was 4.  Paul slipped into the canal and thanks to my dad's quick instincts, he ran and got help.  Paul's lifeless body was pulled out several blocks away, but the ambulance was able to resuscitate him.  My dad was labeled a hero and his story was even mentioned in the Salt Lake Newspaper.

I was so looking forward to being in Logan with him so that we could take pictures in front of these "famous" places.

The place where "Paul Fell in the Water."

This was his elementary school.
After a pleasant afternoon in Logan, and a few hours getting a peek at my sister Kara's new life in Ogden, we all sped to Salt Lake City for the reception and enjoyed a perfect evening with family and good food.

Kara, Savanna, Alecia and Christian

The weekend was great.  Even though I am still quite gimpy with my "old lady" back pains, we jam packed a lot into those few days.  We ate plenty of delicious food and I got my fill of perfectly blended Diet Coke refills with pellet ice.  YUM!!

Plus, I am reminded again not only how much I adore my family, but also how blessed I am to come home to my own.  I am blessed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting Old and Life Lessons

I have injured my back.  I am not sure how it happened, but I am in pain...a lot of pain.  It started about 10 days ago.  I moan.  I wobble.  I feel old.

Alecia at 38 years old.
I went to a chiropractor for the first time ever.  That was interesting.  The best thing was getting samples for this Bengay type stuff.  I learned that the heating pads and long baths were not the right approach.  So now I am glued to my ice pack and I smell like Mentholatum. Am I going to be one of those ladies who takes a pillow with me wherever I go?

Between Romney's aching knees and my bad back, we now make a lovely, going to bed early, propped up with pillows kind of couple.  WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED??

Except for my back, things are going well in the Williams' household.  The kids are getting settled into their routines and homework at night is getting less painful.  (Thank the good heavens above for Romney and his patience and ability to do math with the kids).

Lauren tried out for another musical.  A local theater company is putting on the play Seussical.  I have no idea what it is about, but she wanted to be a part of it, so she tried out and got the part of a "Who."  The cast and most of the speaking parts went to high school aged kids.  She was a little disappointed, but I guess after "Annie," anything will be a let down.  She is having fun.  The performances are in November.

The same week at school, she also tried out for a group at school called Percussions.  It is a really impressive musical group that plays all different kinds of drums.  We went to a couple of their performances last year.  I was blown away.  She has wanted to be a part of it for over a year.

She tried out.  She did not make it.

She was so sad.  I felt so bad for her.  No matter what I said, I couldn't help her feel okay.  I tried to help her focus on the positive, but she just looked at me like I don't get it.  Maybe I don't.

As her mom, I just wanted her to realize how talented she is and to focus on all that she has going for her. She couldn't see it.  It kind of broke my heart for her to experience a "real life, grown-up" disappointment.  Disappointments are a part of life, but focusing on the disappointment can be devastating.

She is finally over the pain and now actually feels happy for her friends that got in.  Valuable life lessons, but we both still agree that getting older can suck sometimes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Seeing Past What it Seems

Photo from
The other day, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to this story.  I highly recommend taking a second to read this girl's inspiring and life changing experience.

I have not been able to stop thinking about it.

It is situations like this that make me realize that blogging can be a powerful way to touch lives.  Sharing stories and experiences can inspire other's to try harder.  To be better.

I truly appreciate this stranger for taking the time to sit down and write her family's life changing experience.

I am determined to let it change mine.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mormon Media Blitz

The LDS church is having a unique moment in our country.  With two Mormon presidential candidates as well as the overwhelming success of the satirical and for the most part, irreverent Broadway play, "The Book of Mormon,"  it seems that people are talking about our faith.  I find it interesting however, that although people in the media are talking...very few are actually including the church in the conversation.

I have truly appreciated the church's response to all the media attention.  They are basically saying, "Great, if you would like to talk about us, we would be happy to tell you about ourselves."

"I am a Mormon" billboard in Times Square, New York.
In response to the NYC Broadway play, the church basically did a media blitz on the city.  A huge "I am a Mormon" billboard was placed right in the middle of Times Square.  "I am a Mormon" ads were seen on cabs and city buses and the short ads were broadcast on screens inside taxi cabs throughout the city.

Aside from the massive worldwide humanitarian efforts of our church, I'll be honest, the "I am a Mormon" campaign is one of the coolest endeavors I have seen the church take part in.  The short ads are inspiring and interesting.  The effort is clearly to clarify misconceptions about our church and its members.   

There are a lot of misunderstandings about our church.  Misconceptions that we are not Christian, or that we practice polygamy or that we are a secretive, brainwashed people.  These are all misconceptions.  The "I am a Mormon" ads depict that we are normal, Christian faith centered, family loving people who have found happiness in our faith. 

I feel that the current media effort of the church is simply to clear up the misunderstandings and basically provide an easy forum to start a dialogue.  Mostly, it gives members a chance to become part of a conversation that is already going on. This media effort and the website will hopefully provide that forum to clear up some misconceptions about our faith...a place where questions can be answered...where misunderstandings can be clarified.

We found out that Denver is going to be included as one of the cities for this media blitz. It starts in October.  It will be interesting to be included in the conversation...

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Wedding!

I am a little behind.  There is so much going on right now.  I have written dozens of blog my mind.  Now I just need to find the time to get them out!!!

My younger sister Kara got married a few weeks ago.  We drove home for the festivities and it was such a happy weekend.  She married a fantastic guy named Adam Martin and I have no doubt that they will be incredibly happy together.  We are so thrilled for them!!

All 8 siblings were able to attend.  This is the first time we have all been together in what feels like years.  We went to lunch together one afternoon with our parents.  We laughed and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed being together.  We are all really close friends and times like that only brought us closer.  Have I mentioned how much I adore these people?

Savanna, Marisa, Alecia, McCormack, Christian, Kara, McSean and Eliza

Jeff and Kathy

The wedding dinner was in a perfect setting at the base of the mountains with a beautiful view of the valley.  Kara and Adam gave beautiful tributes to each other.

The Wedding Ceremony at the Draper Temple

The Reception 
The Wedding Reception was held in my parents' back yard.  It was a delightful evening and I think fun was had by all who attended.

It was a perfect night to celebrate the happy marriage of my darling sister Kara.  Congrats to Kara and Adam.  We love you guys!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Life Changing Moments

Over the weekend, our friends unexpectedly lost their newborn baby girl only 18 hours after she was born.  It was heart wrenching.  The delivery went well, so well in fact, that we heard that the delivery was so smooth and beautiful that the doctor actually thanked the parents and said, "It was a pleasure delivering your daughter."

Pictures were taken with beaming parents, siblings with proud smiles and all those tender newborn poses.  The next afternoon, the nurse came in to do routine mom and baby check ups.  She listened to the baby's heart and thought she heard a faint flutter.  They decided to check it out in the nursery.  Within minutes it was determined that she only had 3 chambers in her heart.  The doctors scrambled furiously to save her, but 4 hours later, little Maren suffered severe heart failure and peacefully passed away in her mother's arms.

 I couldn't sleep for the first few nights.  I kept imagining the mother's empty arms.  I imagined the ache of trying to recover from labor and engorgement without a newborn baby.  It was difficult to realize that this sweet couple's lives will never be the same...and there was nothing that could be said.

Romney is their home teacher and was asked if he would be the only speaker at the funeral.  I did not envy him in this task to prepare words of comfort for broken parents.  He did a phenomenal job as he paid tribute to her tiny life.  He gave an exceptional talk filled with words of comfort and hope as he focused on the Savior and the gift of resurrection.  I was in awe of him.

I am so grateful for the gospel.

I am so grateful for Romney.


I bring up these events not to focus on the sadness, but to say that with everything that has happened the past few days, I have learned so much and I hope I never forget.

I serve in the Relief Society Presidency.    I had never done anything like this and I was wondering if I would be able to give in a way that was sufficient.  I was quickly blown away by the number of willing women who volunteered their time, food, talents and hearts to help ease the burden of this family.  The Relief Society in action is amazing to witness.

The night of the viewing another woman from the ward and I prepared a few refreshments in an adjoining room.  As I stood there, I was overcome with a tremendous amount of love for this family and love for this other sister who was standing beside me to help with the details of the night.  I felt a true change in my heart.  It was a powerful reminder that service changes our hearts in a way that nothing else can.

I also realized that this family called upon Romney to pay tribute to their child because he had been faithfully serving them for months.  They felt the love he had for them and they knew that he was the person they could trust with such an important role. I couldn't help but ask myself, "What if he had not been there for them when times were easy?"  I suddenly knew that had he not been there for them, they would have never called on him when things were hard.

As the evening of the viewing came to a close, I was touched that one other woman from the ward stayed to help the other sister and me pack up my car with the flowers and dozens of refreshments and trays to be used for the funeral the next day.  They were both there until the very end.  I couldn't believe how powerful that was for me to realize that I was there because I had been asked to be, they were there because they wanted to be.

I hope that I will be this type of person in the future.

These kinds of events are heart wrenching and testing, but the reality is that I left with a greater resolve to enjoy each day.  I will hug my kids tighter and let them know that I love being their mom.  I will love my husband more.  I will be better to my family and friends.  I will do my best to be a kinder person who is more aware.

Life changing moments.
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